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Hulu knows video ads on pause would make you throw your TV out the window

Hulu knows video ads on pause would make you throw your TV out the window
[Photo: rawpixel.com/Pexels]

Hulu has announced plans to show ads when you pause, but at least they won’t involve video. The company told TechCrunch that it plans to show static banner ads, starting sometime this spring. The ads will appear a few seconds into the pause unless the viewer starts fast forwarding or rewinding, and they’ll only show up for videos with less than a TV-MA rating. Advertisers will also be able to target the ads to match with or avoid certain types of content.

Last year, both Hulu and AT&T said they were working on “pause ads” or “pause-vertising,” with AT&T spelling out that these ads would include a video component. Hulu, at least, has realized this would likely result in backlash. “It can be jarring–you think you’ve paused the content, but you’re still seeing sight, sound, and motion,” Jeremy Helfand, Hulu’s vice president and head of advertising platforms, told TechCrunch.

It’s unclear whether AT&T will also come to its senses. We’ve reached out for comment and will update if we hear back.

In any event, Hulu says it’s betting big on the concept of “nondisruptive” formats overall, with the goal of having 50% of ad revenue come from ads that don’t stop the video from playing. Pause ads with video were probably a step too far, but don’t expect Hulu to stop experimenting with where the line should be drawn.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Hulu was considering video ads when a program is paused. Only AT&T specifically said it would do this.

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